EL 305 Shakespeare and Embodiment: Sex, Sensation, Passion and Skin

EL 305

Shakespeare and Embodiment: Sex, Sensation, Passion and Skin

Spring 2019
Monday 11:00-12:50, JF 102
Wednesday 3:00-3:50, EF 102

Instructor: Dr. Ethan Guagliardo
Office Hours, TB 475: Wednesday 2:00-3:00; 4:00-5:00 and by appointment

Course Goals: The goal of this course is to introduce students to the dramatic work of William Shakespeare through the theme of embodiment, which we will consider through several theoretical registers: sensation and affect; fictional and political bodies; the physicality of performance; the relationship between body and mind/subjectivity; and bodies racialized and sexualized. We begin by drawing Shakespeare from the heights of “genius” and “universality” where he is often (dis)located back into the grime of early modern London and its theatrical scene. From there, we will sample plays in all the major dramatic genres in which Shakespeare wrote, through these theoretical lenses. Most importantly, we’ll learn and have fun doing it.


Response Papers: No longer than one-page, single-spaced, your paper will take into account the secondary article assigned, and offer a very close and precise reading of a single passage or moment in the poem. These papers are due in class on the day assigned; late papers not accepted unless arrangements are made beforehand. I will drop the lowest grade (so you can write six responses, but your grade will be calculated out of five).

Research Paper: In three parts. Part 1: A short paragraph-length proposal, in which you choose (in consultation with me) a Shakespearean play we did not read in this course and which you have not read before (on thy honor!). Part 2: A 2-page description of your topic/possible argument, and a list of at least six sources. One source must be a primary text, using the EEBO database. Part 3: the finished product, an 8-10pp. research paper (excluding bibliography).

Final Exam: A comprehensive exam testing your reading knowledge.


Participation                10%
Response Papers          25%
Research Paper Parts   5%
Final Research Paper   30%    
Final Exam                  30%

Course Schedule

Week One, Feb. 11: Sensible Imaginations

Mon.                ––––Introduction to the Early Modern Stage
Weds.              ––––MND, act 1Kevin Curran, “Shakespeare and the Senses,” from The
Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy(2018)

Week Two, Feb. 15

Mon.                ––––MND, Acts 2-3
Weds.              ––––MND, Acts 4-5

Response Paper 1 Due

Week Three, Feb. 25: Bodies Political, Magical, Fictional

Mon.                ––––Richard II, Act 1; From Ernst Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies
Weds.              ––––Richard II, Acts 2-3

Week Four, March 4

Mon.                ––––Richard II, Acts 4-5
Weds.              ––––Richard II

Response Paper 2 Due

Week Five, March 11: Hamlet and his Mind/Body Problems             

Mon.                ––––Hamlet, Act 1Margreta de Grazia, “Hamlet Before its Time,” Modern
Quarterly 62 (2001): 355-375
Weds.              ––––Hamlet, Acts 2-3


Week Six, March 18: Subjectivity and Feeling

Note: This week’s classes will have to be rescheduled; I will be in Toronto for the Renaissance Society of America Conference.

Mon.                ––––Hamlet, Acts 4-5
Weds.              ––––Hamlet

Response Paper 3 Due

Week 7, March 25: Race in Space

Mon.                ––––Hamlet
Weds.              ––––Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1; Ania Loomba, “The Imperial Romance of
Antony and Cleopatra”, from
 Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism (2000)

Week 8, April 1

Mon.                ––––Antony and Cleo, Acts 2-3
Weds.              ––––Antony and Cleo, Acts 4-5
Recommended: Daniel Vitkus, Turning Turk (Palgrave, 2003), chapter 1.

                                    Research Paper topic due

Week 9, April 8

Mon.                ––––Antony and Cleo Response Paper 4 Due
Weds.              ––––King Lear, Act 1

Week 10, April 15: Woeful Experience

Mon.                ––––King Lear, Acts 2-3
Weds.              ––––King Lear, Acts 4-5; Gail Kern Paster, “Minded like the Weather: The
Tragic Body and its 
Passions,” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean
    2-page Abstract of Paper and List of Sources Due

Spring Break, April 22-26

Week 11, April 29: Animal Kingdoms

Mon.                ––––King Lear
Weds.              ––––King Lear

Response Paper 5 Due

Week 12, May 6: Art, Nature, Regeneration

Mon.                ––––The Winter’s Tale
Weds.              ––––The Winter’s Tale

Week 13, May 13

Mon.                ––––The Winter’s Tale
Wed.                ––––The Winter’s Take

Response Paper 6 Due

Term Paper Due May 20, high noon

Final Exam Tba

Student Resources


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